Monday, June 11, 2012

Do You Know the Signs of Heat Stroke?

Whew! It’s getting hot out there! While we love the warm weather and doing all sorts of fun things outside with our dogs, this heat can be very dangerous. As humans, we can sweat to cool down. Dogs only sweat a little bit through their paws. Instead, they use panting to cool off. But in the heat, dogs can quickly overheat and succumb to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Do you know the signs of heat stroke? It could save your dog’s life.

Signs of Heat Stroke

The early signs of heat stroke include: 
  • panting
  • increased heart rate
  • excess or thick saliva
  • confusion and inattention
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
More serious signs include:
  • weakness
  • gasping or slowed breathing
  • staggering 
  • collapse
  • purple, blue or grey gums
  • seizures
  • coma
  • death
Treatment for Heat Stroke

If your dog is exhibiting any of these signs, you need to start cooling him down immediately. Move out of the heat and the sun. Shade can help, but if possible, try to get inside to an air conditioned room. Use cool towels or cool water to help your dog’s body temperature drop. This will work best if you soak towels in cool water and place them on your dog’s stomach, groin and armpits. You can also cool his paws down.

Do not use icy cold water or feed your dog ice cubes to cool him down. This could cause him to cool down too fast and can actually make the situation worse.

Even after your dog seems to be cooled down, take him to the vet, especially if he was exhibiting any of the more severe symptoms.

How to Prevent Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is preventable. Avoid the hottest part of the day, and don’t allow your dog to overexert himself in the heat, even if he looks like he’s having a great time playing. Always make sure your dog has access to plenty of shade and cool, fresh water. And never leave your dog unattended in the car, no matter how long you think you’ll be gone.

For more summer tips, check out our 6 safety tips to enjoy summer with your dog.

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